Leah’s Quick Draw Scribal Challenge

Pean, a unicorn rampant contourny argent, on a chief invected Or two roses gules.
Pean, a unicorn rampant contourny argent, on a chief invected Or two roses gules.

Remember those buttons?

They’re prizes for Leah’s Quick Draw Challenge.

A while ago, Northshield Scribes had a Facebook discussion on what should be in the kingdom’s Scribal Handbook. One of the comments asked for instructions on how to decipher blazons in order to include a recipient’s heraldry on scrolls.  To answer this, I came up with the Quick Draw Challenge.  I’m all about having fun while learning, so the Quick Draw Challenge is a 24 hour “race” to decipher a blazon, draw the emblazon (the picture), and send it back to me – because the best way to get comfortable with blazonry is to practice.

The challenge goes out twice a week – on Tuesdays and Thursdays – the Northshield Scribe’s list. I send out a blazon, and everyone has 24 hours to send me their entry. I’ve gotten emblazons scribbled on post-it notes, done up in MS Paint or Word (with the colors labeled). The unofficial motto of the challenge is “It doesn’t have to be pretty – it just has to be right!” The first person with a correct entry gets a button, but everyone who gets the emblazon correct get in a drawing for a copy of Masterpieces of Illumination, by Walther and Wolf. Everyone who enters, whether correct or not, gets entered into a drawing for a satchel of scribal supplies. And if someone gets three buttons, they can exchange them for a paternoster.

After the 24 hour period is over, I email the list again with the correct answer, but I break the blazon down section by section to explain the WHY of it. Then I announce the winners of the challenge.

The response so far has been pretty awesome. After five challenges, I’ve had 11 unique participants out of a total of 24. Well be doing this until 12th Night in Nordskogen (January 4th, 2015). After that, we’ll see where we are. I’m thinking of building a website for the challenge or finding a way to open it up to the whole Society. Maybe using MailChimp…

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